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By Bella Travaglini / Correspondent
Thursday, June 2, 2005

The North Shore Music Theatre hit a double when it cast local identical twin sisters, Amy and Alison Sabean, in instrumentalist roles as part of the premiere musical production of "Fame" currently playing at the Beverly venue.

The musical follows the lives of a group of gifted students through four years at New York's renowned High School of the Performing Arts and features a youthful cast of 32 energetic performers from the North Shore and surrounding communities.

The Sabean girls are two of 12 cast members from the North Shore and the only artists from Danvers.

The 13-year-old sisters learned of the open auditions for the show while visiting the theater's Web site a few months back. Alison, a flutist, played Sonata 5, which she learned for the junior district auditions in January. Clarinet player Amy performed Disney's "Be My Guest" and "Bufflohead," a piece from her school jazz band repertoire.

Their auditions only lasted five minutes, but it was obviously long enough to impress the judges.

"They went in on a Sunday afternoon in March for the auditions and they both got calls on that Tuesday to tell them they were cast," boasted their mom, Jean.

The opportunity to perform in the music theater production did not come without a cost, however. The girls made the decision to pass on playing in the Danvers' girls softball league this year - something they've done since they were very young. But, they have no regrets.

Amy and Alison have found rehearsing with professional coaches very "cool" and would do it all over again just for the joy of being in the show, their mother said.

According to Jean, the girls have always loved music, theater and drama. As a matter of fact, the sisters have been involved in drama since first grade at the Smith School where, she
says, the administration fosters the arts.

"It was great that the girls had the opportunity to get up on stage in front of an audience at a very young age," said Jean Sabean. She believes the early stage experience is one reason why the girls were cast, second to their talent, of course.

S mith School Principal Susan Ambrozavitch has known the twins since they attended kindergarten at the school and is not surprised that the girls have landed the roles in "Fame."

"These girls are quiet leaders, extremely purposeful in whatever they do," remarked Ambrozavitch. "I can remember when they participated in Mr. Dodge's 'You're a Good Man,
Charlie Brown' production back in first grade. It's so wonderful to know they are onstage performing in 'Fame' some seven years later. It's quite a metamorphosis."

The school continues to foster what Ambrozavitch calls "the integration of the arts" into the school's curriculum. "I believe the arts are the way kids learn best - it's during these events
that the meaningful moments of learning occur," she said.

The artistic duo has also performed with the school band since fourth grade and currently plays in the Danvers Jazz Band. They have also been members of the community theater group, 2 x 2 Productions, for the past three years.

Both girls are multi-talented and play more than one instrument to boot. In addition to the flute, Alison plays the piano, piccolo and saxophone and Amy plays piano aside from mastering the trumpet.

The young performers have been enduring a grueling rehearsal schedule since mid-May.

They practiced daily for two hours, yet had no problem maintaining their seventh grade honor roll status at the Dunn Middle School.

The Sabean parents are bursting with anticipation to see their girls' opening-night performances tonight at 8 p.m. Other excited family members and the girls' friends also plan on attending a performance.

The North Shore Music Theatre is located at 62 Dunham Road in Beverly. "Fame" is playing through June 19. For tickets and more information, call 978-232-7200 or visit



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